Valrhona formed in 1922, is justifiably acclaimed worldwide as one of, if not, the premier Grand Cru chocolate maker by selecting only the very best cocoa beans directly from plantations and then using very traditional skills to achieve specific flavour and texture profiles to properly reflect the terroir of the region. Fitting then, that Princess Coco Chocolaterie is showcasing it, not only throughout its desserts and ‘house-made’ chocolates, but also in its signature beverages. Put quite simply, Sydney rightly now has its own Valrhona temple, and the owners intend to do it with a touch of style, whilst also keeping the prices accessible to all.
Signature Princess Coco Valrhona desserts include a chocolate fondant with salted palm sugar ice cream, almond tuille and warm citrus sauce ($15). For those still a bit partial to the art of fondue, and the more playful, there is a wicked chocolate version ($15) with condiments of seasonal fruits, ‘house-made’ marshmallow and caramelised banana and petit choux. Mousse Cariabe ($17) with mandarine compote features an intriguing Earl Grey chocolate sauce. Raspberry délice ($15), is a flourless chocolate sponge, raspberry ganache and compote, with Valrhona mousse and almond streusel base. Served hot or cold, the premium beverage range ($6.50) includes La tradition or Chocolat noir épicé, essentially dark Valrhona with and without spices. The individually hand crafted chocolate range is diverse, with exquisite balance and texture the hallmark, the perfect gift if you do not devour them first (good luck)!
The feature, La Fountain de Cacao, an impressive glass chocolate fountain that reportedly cost $80,000, is mesmerizing as it pours chocolate from one delicate glass trumpet to another. It is an artisan piece of design that is a metaphor for the liquid content that inspires all manner of temptations at Princess Coco. Barry Jones (ex Savoy in London and Star), team pastry technical advisor for Le Cordon Bleu’s Team Pastry Australia aiming for the World Pastry Cup in 2013, is consulting chef and that level of commitment and excellence is clearly noticeable in the detail of all the desserts here. Chef Rika Shiina (ex 7 star Burj Al Arab in Dubai, Sokyo at The Star and Maze) executes that vision and oversees the daily pastry preparations which also includes a savoury element as a point of difference.
A charcuterie platter ($30) with foie gras, duck rillette, pâté and spicy salami, fromages du jour (3 for $25 or 5 for $30), flans, salade or soup du jour ($9.50) served with a baguette make it more than just a Chocolaterie, with luxurious chairs and lounges giving the room a La Belle Époque Salon like ambience. To celebrate the opening, a classic black 1951 and elegant white 1953 Citroën Traction Avant marks the occasion impressively organised by Whiteworks Public Relations; a nostalgic reminder of an era that personified style and thankfully lives on through events and boutique Chocolateries like Princess Coco. Sydney has long deserved a true “Chocolat” haven for Francophiles, and with exclusive access to the Valrhona range you can be assured that both decadence and gratification await, only needing to be graced by your presence should you be as open to temptation as I seem to be.
Whiteworks Public Relations (02) 95571433